- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Beast Books (Feb. 23 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0984295119
- ISBN-13: 978-0984295111
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.9 x 19.7 cm
- Shipping Weight: 272 g
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,069,988 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America Paperback – Feb 23 2010
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"Wingnuts offers a clear and comprehensive review of the forces on the outer edges of the political spectrum that shape and distort our political debate. Shedding more heat than light they drive frustrated alienated citizens away from the reasoned discourse that can produce real solutions to our problems."
About the Author
John Avlon is senior political columnist for The Daily Beast. He served as chief speechwriter for New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and is the author of Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics. He lives in New York City.
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Some examples of groups that he discusses: the Tea Party, "Birthers" who believe that President Obama was born outside of the US. 9/11 "truthers" that believe President Bush was part of a conspiracy, and a "code pink" movement that sees moral equivalency between US Armed Forces and Jehadists.
Wing nuts was also an enjoyable read. I delayed reading it after purchasing but when I finally picked it up I couldn't put it down.
“The middle of the road is all of the usable surface. The extremes, right and left, are in the gutters.” —Dwight D. Eisenhower
That said, Avalon does not spare the extremists on the left, even if the material is more weighted to the right. The book puts liberals Ed Schultz, Keith Olbermann, and groups like Occupy Wall St. under the microscope as well as Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity.
Avalon gave extensive coverage to the ordinary citizens getting caught up in political misinformation, propaganda, distortions, and hate speech. From the so-called "Hatriot" groups to the "Birthers" and "9/11 Truthers". Where he missed the mark somewhat is the scant mention of agitators on the left like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton (both are merely mentioned once in passing as past presidential candidates) and manipulators of the political system like the Koch brothers on the right (two brief mentions with no real substance).
With the power, influence, and determination to change our political system at every level, the Koch brothers deserved more than a couple of sentences in this book.
Those flaws aside, this book is well worth reading for anyone who wants to be well informed about the extremists operating in America today. Sadly, the people who need to read this the most are the ones who certainly will not read it, the extremists themselves. If they were to read it, it's unlikely to cause them to re-examine their beliefs and why they believe them (no amount of evidence will persuade unreasonable people).